Friday, September 16, 2011

Jeannie Seely-Celebrating 44 Years As An Opry Member

It was on September 16, 1967 that Grand Ole Opry member Jeannie Seely joined the cast of the Opry. She will be celebrating her 44th year as an Opry member tonight. Jeannie was born on July 6, 1940 in Titusville, Pennsylvania. Here is a short bio of Jeannie:

"A Strong-voiced country singer who emerged in the 1960s, Jeannie Seely is perhaps best known for her 1966 smash 'Don't Touch Me.' A popular fixture on the Grand Ole Opry, she has remained an audience favorite over the years, in large part due to her vibrant onstage personality.

Born Marilyn Jeanne Seely, she was raised in a poor family in western Pennsylvania; her father was a steelworker and farmer. By age eleven she was singing on radio station WMGW in Meadville, Pennsylvanai, and by sixteen on television in Erie. While attending banking school, Seely moved to Los Angeles in 1961. There she combined more financial schooling with songwriting, singing and working as a disc jockey. In 1965 she shifted to Nashville-at the urging of songwriter Hank Cochran-and briefly joined Porter Wagoner's road (and television) show. She signed with Monument Records, for whom she recorded 'Don't Touch Me.' Written by Cochran, the ballad shot up the charts to #2, stayed there for three weeks, and won her a Grammy. In 1967 Seely joined the Opry, breaking its prudish standards by wearing miniskirts. In that same year, 'I'll Love You (More Than You Need)' became her second Top ten hit.

Seely became a popular figure on television shows (the Wilburn Brothers, Ernest Tubb), and in 1969 she formed a road show with Jack Greene. Also in 1969, she married Cochran (they later divorced); entertained U.S. military troops in Japan, Taiwan, and Thailand; and signed with Decca Records. A duet with Greene, 'Wish D Didn't Have to Miss You,' soon went to #2. Her last Top Ten hit, 'Can I Sleep in Your Arms?' (by Cochran), went to #6 in 1973 for MCA records. In 1978 Seely was injured in a perilous car wreck near Nashville.

A versatile artist, Seely has written songs for Norma Jean, Connie Smith, Dottie West, Ray Price, Faron Young and r&b singer Irma Thomas. She appeared in musicals in the 1980s and even compiled a witty book of earty epigrams, 'Pieces of a Puzzled Mind (1989). (written by Steve Eng-The Encyclopedia of Country Music).

In honor of Jeannie Seely's 44th year as an Opry member, here is the line up and running order of the show, from Saturday night September 16, 1967, that night Jeannie joined the Opry:

First Show
6:30 Mrs Grissoms
Ernie Ashworth(host): A Week in a County Jail
Paul Moore: Cold, Cold Heart
Spider Wilson: Wildwood Flower
Ernie Ashworth: My Love for You

6:45 Rudy's
George Hamilton IV(host): Break My Mind
Jerri Lynn(?): Ain't Had No Lovin
Jerry Whitehurst: Hey, Good Lookin
George Hamilton IV: The Urge for Going

7:00 Luzianne
Bill Anderson(host): Get While the Getting's Good
4 Guys: Swing Down, Chariot
Jimmy Gatley: She Want's to Be Like You
Tammy Wynette: You Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad
Bill Anderson: No One's Gonna Hurt You Anymore
Duke of Paducah: Four-Leaf Clover
4 Guys: Walking in the Sunshine
Bill Anderson: I Love You Drops

7:30 Standard Candy
Billy Grammer(host): Mabel, You Have Been a Friend to Me
Willis Brothers: A 6th 2 by 4
Stringbean: Gonna Make Myself a Name
Margie Bowes: Men Around the House
Billy Grammer: The Real Thing
Harold Weakley: Since Never
Billy Grammer: Pennsylvania Polka
Willis Brothers: Chattanogga Shoe Shine Boy
Billy Grammer: Gotta Travel On

8:00 Martha White
Wilburn Brothers(host): It's Another World
Justin Tubb: As Long As There's A Sunday
Dottie West: Like a Fool
Crook Brothers: Sally Goodin
Wilburn Brothers: Your Standing in the Way
Pete Sayers: Little Darling Pal of Mine
Justin Tubb & Dottie West: Love is no Excuse
Dottie West: Paper Mansions

8:30 Stephens
Roy Drusky(host): Rainbows & Roses
Grandpa Jones: Mountain Dew
Hugh X Lewis: You're So Cold I'm Turning Blue
Roy Drusky: White Lightning Express
Opry Staff Band: Speeding West
Grandpa Jones: Everything I Had Going for Me is Gone
Roy Drusky: Anymore

Second Show
9:30 Kelloggs
Tex Ritter(host): Boll Weevil
Willis Brothers: Big Daddy's Alabamy Bound
Dottie West: Funny, Familiar Forgotten Feelings
Hank Williams Jr: There's Be No Teardrops Tonight/Wedding Bells/Mansion on the Hill/Half as Much/Lovesick Blues
Tex Ritter: Working Man's Prayer
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bill Cheatham

10:00 Schick
Billy Grammer(host); Gotta Travel On
Stringbean: Gonna Make Myself a Name
Margie Bowes: Makin Believe
Billy Grammer: Mabel, You Have Been a Friend to Me

10:15 Pure
Roy Drusky(host): Reel Me A Nanner
Grandpa Jones: Dear Old Sunny South by the Sea
George Hamilton IV: Break My Mind
Roy Drusky: New Lips

10:30 Buckley's
Ernie Ashworth(host): My Love for You
Willis Brothers: Give Me 40 Acres
Ernie Ashworth: Sad Face
Willis Brothers: Bob/God Walks These Hills With Me

10:45 Newport
Wilburn Brothers(host): Goody Goody Gumdrop
Justin Tubb: Take A Letter Miss Gray
Crook Brothers: Black Mountain Rag
Wilburn Brothers: Knoxville Girl

11:00 Coca-Cola
Tex Ritter(host): Green Grow the Lilacs
4 Guys: Shenendoah
Hank Williams, Jr: Long Gone Lonesome Blues/Can't Take it Much Longer/I'm in No Condition to Try to Love Again/I'm Nobody's Child
Tex Ritter: Just Beyond the Moon
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Gray Eagle
Tex Ritter: I Dreamed of a Hillbilly Heaven

11:30 Lava
Bob Luman(host): Let't Think About Living
Osborne Brothers: Roll Muddy River
Jerry Green: Turn the World Around the Other Way
Tammy Wynette: I Don't Wanna Play House
Bob Luman: You Can't Take the Boy from the Country
Harold Weakley: Since Never
Osborne Brothers: Making Plans
Bob Luman: Memphis

Some interesting observations regarding the Opry that night. Did you notice how many of the Opry's big names were missing: Roy Acuff, Ernest Tubb, Hank Snow, Bill Monroe, Minnie Pearl, etc. Quite a few names. Also, Tammy Wynette and Hank Williams, Jr were both on. And this was early in their careers. Finally, some interesting booking. Tex Ritter and Hank Williams, Jr were not on the first show, but they had 2 segments on the 2nd show. Also, Bob Luman and the Osborne Brothers, in the last segment, were only on the 2nd show. On this particular night, the 2nd show was definitely stronger than the first.

Again, congratulations to Jeannie Seely!!


  1. Wow. Congrats! I'm showing my ignorance here, but I didn't know the Opry ran til midnight back then.

    When did they start doing just 2 hour shows?


  2. Hi Tom: In talking about Saturday night shows, for most of the Opry's history they ran 1 show each Saturday night from 7:30-Midnight. In the mid 1960s, the Opry switched to 2 shows on Saturday night, with the first show from 6:30-9 and the second show from 9:30-Midnight.

    The last Saturday show to go until Midnight was on December 30, 2006. Starting with the weekend of January 6, 2007, the first show still ran from 6:30-9, but the second show was cut down a half hour, lasting from 9:30-11:30.

    On Saturday July 5, 2008, the first show was cut down to a two hour show, with the starting time changing from 6:30 to 7:00. The show still lasted until 9.

    The current Opry schedule for Saturday nights is that most of the year there is one show from 7-9:15, with a 15 minute intermission. During selected parts of the year, they will run a 2nd show. On the nights there are two shows, the first show goes 7-9 and the second show 9:30-11:30, with no intermissions.